Books: the often hidden source of information

I like to think of myself as an information specialist, skilled at finding what I need to know. I work in academia partly within a university press and partly within a university library; I must know something about information search and accessibility. However, I realize that finding information in books is difficult. Using my spare time interest, woodworking, as a concrete example, I am often interested in finding descriptions of furniture collections in historic homes, to use as inspiration. The typical scenario is that I imagine there should be a number of books written on the history of European manor houses, tangentially including photos and descriptions of their content, but I don’t know in advance what these books are.

In the old days, you would go to a library and, using the cataloging system, try to find sections with relevant material, but since you were usually looking for content that wasn’t the main purpose of a book, this often didn’t work particularly well. In the digital age, one would suspect that this should have changed. All books begin life in an electronic format, from which a print edition is created, and therefore it is logical to expect days when its content can be searched. However, visit virtually any library and find that the systems for finding books haven’t changed much. Catalogs are now computer-based, but their content is not that different from the old card-based systems. In effect, all you can search for is the title, the selected keywords (few) and the names of the authors.

So what does one do? The Google Books initiative has been controversial, but from an information seeker’s perspective, it’s a godsend; Finally, it is possible to search the full text of a large number of books, and while it may not be possible to read an entire book, it is usually possible to read a page or so around the content of interest. At the very least, it allows one to know what books to look for on a subsequent visit to the library, or allows one to make a more informed judgment as to whether the book is worth buying. Google Books adversity comes from some publishers and authors. I definitely believe that those who produce books should be paid, but many of us consumers are much more likely to buy a book if we have some idea of ​​its content (beyond a three-line summary). Certainly my book purchases have increased since Google Books came along. I find it well worth the effort to create a collection of books (and these days I have hundreds of books in mine) that cover topics of interest to me in my Google Books account, and then the next time I research one of my woodworking projects finding some background or inspiration is relatively easy.

Eventually, a one-stop portal for a period of trade plans!
Click Here

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply